The Oklahoma City Thunder stopped the San Antonio Spurs’ winning streak at 19 games with a 106-94 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday night, completing a 4-0 season sweep of the defending Western Conference champs.
Contemplate that for a moment. In 72 games against every team in the NBA not named “Oklahoma City Thunder,” the Spurs are 59-13, an .819 winning percentage.
Against the Thunder, bagel-and-4.
The four games weren’t even particularly close:
- Nov. 27, 2013 at Oklahoma City: Thunder 94-88
- Dec. 21, 2013 at San Antonio: Thunder 113-100
- Jan. 22, 2014 at San Antonio: Thunder 111-105
- April 3, 2014 at Oklahoma City: Thunder 106-94
So what is it the Thunder does to the Spurs that few other opponents seem to be able to do?
The Thunder averaged 106 points per game in their four meetings with San Antonio; for the season, the Spurs allow 97.1 points per game.
San Antonio scores 105.5 points per game for the season; against Oklahoma City that figure is 96.8.
Shooting, perhaps? The Spurs shot 44.2 percent against the Thunder, including 38.9 percent from 3-point range. For the year, San Antonio shoots 48.9 percent and 40 percent from deep.
The Thunder, meanwhile, shot 49.7 percent against the Spurs and 41 percent from 3; the Spurs allow percentages of 44.2 percent overall and 35.4 percent from deep for the season.
Kevin Durant is actually below his season scoring average when he plays the Spurs this year. Durant averaged 26.3 points in the four meetings. Russell Westbrook averaged 21.3 points per game in the three games he played (he missed the Jan. 22 contest).
But the real X-factor in the season series against San Antonio was Reggie Jackson. Check out these numbers:
Those are Jackson’s stats in four games against the Spurs this season. The 21.3 points per game is nearly eight points better than his 13.4 per game average on the season. And the 67.9 percent shooting? Off the charts for a guy who’s hit 44.1 percent this year.
No, Jackson flat out wore out the Spurs this season. The Thunder are hard to beat when Westbrook and Durant are doing their thing. But when Oklahoma City has three 20-point a game scorers? As San Antonio discovered in four meetings this year, that’s a combination that’s impossible to beat.
The other thing that really worked to the Thunder’s advantage was the pick-and-roll. They averaged 29 points a game off the pick-and-roll (per ESPN Stats & Information) against San Antonio and shot 52.6 percent overall and 63.6 percent from 3-point range. San Antonio allows 24.1 points, 41.5 percent shooting and 43.1 percent from 3 against every other team.
After a 2-1 week, Oklahoma City is 55-20. They trail the Spurs by 3 ½ games in the Western Conference, in second place two games ahead of the Clippers. They have already clinched the Northwest Division title. The week included a win over the Jazz on Sunday, the aforementioned win over the Spurs on Thursday and a loss at Houston on Friday.
Here is the week that was, including game reviews, some news and notes, injury updates, rookie watch, and player of the week selection, as well as a look ahead to next week’s action (all statistical information from NBA.com/Stats):